Sentences about France

by on February 13, 2013 at 12:54 am in Education | Permalink

…nearly 40 percent of French 15-year-olds have repeated at least one grade — three times the O.E.C.D. average.

And:

“This is the only country I know where the adults work 35 hours a week, but they expect their kids to work more,” said Peter Gumbel…

The story is here, interesting throughout.

John February 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

I’m surprised this old misconception about the 35hour week in France is still so widespread.
The 35 hour rule applies only to blue collar jobs (of course managers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc. work more like 60 hours a week).
Plus most blue collars work more than 35 hours a week. The rule is just that hours are paid a little bit more after the first 35.

prior_approval February 13, 2013 at 3:11 am

The belief in the 35 hour French work week fits well into American preconceptions.

For example, the French work 1476 hours per year on average. And measure at 95.8% in GDP per hour worked as % of USA (USA=100)

In contrast, the German figures are 1406 and 92.7%.

http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=LEVEL

But talking about lazy Germans and their long vacation times and numerous holidays is not an American preconception, though it is better supported factually.

axa February 13, 2013 at 3:16 am

35 hour week, it is right if we still live in 2008 and not 2013 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121209889109030725.html

Brian Donohue February 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

Yeah, but if we’re talking about actual hours worked, perhaps we should look at, you know, actual hours worked:

http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=ANHRS

USA 1,787
France 1,476 (82.6%)
Germany 1,413 (79.0%)

Germans have higher GDP per capita than the French though (on a per hour basis, they appear to be more efficient than Americans: any surprise there?). Maybe a function of employment levels, but I like to think the French just dick around more.

Handworn February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

1476 hours per year divided by 52 weeks is approximately 28.4 hours per week.

prior_approval February 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

Well, I’ll reply this time, after deleting a response to Eric H. -

France has a mandatory 5 week vacation minimum, and call it another week in public holidays (which is complicated in any number of ways – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_holidays_in_France). Add in another easy week off (this number is undoubtedly too low – the German figure is around 2 weeks – but I’m not searching French sites for French statistics) for sick days a year, and the correct number using that equation is hovering around 33.

Frederic Mari February 13, 2013 at 2:47 am

Managerial ranks get ’35 hours’ by getting extra vacations. It’s not a bad deal overall but it’s not the best we could have done even with targeting ‘lower amount of time spent at work over a year’…

For example, it does leave people in low paid jobs who want/need to work more with less possibility to do so.

Employment regulations in France would benefit from some serious “tear it all down and build it back up better”.

As to schools, the whole system is a giant selection machines. It doesn’t officially start before 17-18, quite late by international comparisons but, in practice, while it used to be a big social mobility factor, it’s now mostly reflecting existing social distinctions. Intergenerational mobility in France is still higher than in the USA but it’s not moving in the right direction…

John February 13, 2013 at 4:43 am

Actually there is something called “compte épargne temps” that allows companies to buy back the extra vacation, which most companies do.
Though I agree with the rest of what you say.

D. F. Linton February 13, 2013 at 5:22 am

Literacy is important for children in France, there will be so many forms to fill out….

Frederic Mari February 13, 2013 at 5:26 am

Lol. That’s a good one. And there are (forms to fill out, that is). How I hate bureaucracy. It should all be done via the net.

Ted Craig February 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

Wasn’t it supposed to be done via Minitel?

Frederic Mari February 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Ouch! Why the hatred? ;)

Go Kings, Go! February 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm

At my kids public school I fill out a form by hand with name, address, emergency contacts and health insurance. A separate form for each kid (3 forms). A separate form for the front office, the nurse, and P.E. teacher (9). A separate form for each Field Trip (6). A separate form in each academic year (75).

Silas Barta February 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

And the language provides you so few sounded clues as to how to write stuff. Between hacking off the end of words, and verb conjugation/non-pluralization that only shows up in writing … it’s like learning a new language!

Eric H February 13, 2013 at 7:56 am

Is it possible that the one enables the other, i.e. working harder in school leads to a productivity that allows them to get by on 35 (or 1476/52=~28)?

mw February 13, 2013 at 8:05 am

Poor fools. They’ll never know the satisfaction of working three jobs and being unable to afford health insurance.

Cliff February 13, 2013 at 10:36 am

Neither will anyone else

j r February 13, 2013 at 10:38 am

Quantify the number of Americans who work three jobs and can neither afford private health insurance nor are eligible for public benefits.

If you can’t do that, I will assume that you are trolling.

Edward Burke February 13, 2013 at 8:50 am

These data compare favorably with the US, in which case either France or the US is in good company: over 40% of US students enrolled in post-secondary schools, colleges, and universities are required to take some kind of remedial coursework.

Anon February 13, 2013 at 10:22 am

Though a single remedial course for a single quarter would be less of a bad signal than repeating an entire grade, no?

Edward Burke February 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Having an elementary and secondary education system from which prospective college undergrads emerge equipped to perform post-secondary work would be distinctly less bad.

Floccina February 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm

“This is the only country I know where the adults work 35 hours a week, but they expect their kids to work more,” said Peter Gumbel…

To me this shows another problem with the signaling and licensing model for professions. since it means that no matter how capable you are at 30 if you where not a top achiever at 18-22 you have lose.

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